Ancelotti admits 'worry' over Barca referee bribery case

AFP , Friday 29 Sep 2023

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said Friday he is "worried" about the bribery case Spanish champions Barcelona are embroiled in.

Real Madrid s head coach Carlo Ancelotti arrives prior a Spanish La Liga soccer match between Real Madrid and Las Palmas, at Santiago Bernabeu stadium, in Madrid, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023. AP


A Spanish judge charged Barcelona and several of their former directors with bribery on Thursday after alleged payments to Jose Maria Enriquez Negreira, who was a former Spanish refereeing vice-president.

Negreira allegedly earned over seven million euros ($7.5 million) from Barcelona between 2001 and 2018, through companies supposedly producing refereeing reports for the club.

Police on Thursday raided Spain's football refereeing headquarters on the outskirts of Madrid as part of a probe into the payments made by Barcelona.

"I am worried like everyone in the football world about such a serious topic, (but) justice is working on it, and we have to let justice run its course," Ancelotti told a news conference.

He continued: "I've been living for 40 years in this world (of football), and when these types of things happen, everyone is worried.

"I hope that justice can do its job and reach a solution."

Barcelona coach Xavi said Thursday he had never noticed any preferential treatment in his playing days at the club.

"I never had the sensation that the referees favoured us, ever," he told reporters at a press conference, ahead of Barcelona's clash with Sevilla on Friday.

Real Madrid, second, travel to face surprise league leaders Girona on Saturday.

Ancelotti says defender Antonio Rudiger will be fine after suffering some discomfort in the midweek win over Las Palmas, while he hopes to have David Alaba back for Tuesday's visit to Napoli in the Champions League.

"We have to do things well, to play a complete game, make sure the team has balance, defend well and when we have the ball, show the quality that we have to damage them," said Ancelotti.

The coach said winger Vinicius Junior, who made his comeback from injury against Las Palmas as a substitute, would start on the visit to Montilivi.

Girona's own Brazilian wide man, Savinho, has excelled at the start of the season and helped the Catalan minnows, only in the top flight for the fourth season in their history, to fly.

"He's a young player who is doing very well ... he's showing a lot of quality," added Ancelotti.

"(But) I think we have the resources, experience and quality to stop any player."

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